By Sue Moore
“I hate to lose and try to win at everything I do, especially in the weight room,” said Vicksburg senior Kyle Rose. He has proven that by gaining between 20 and 30 pounds each year in high school. At 290 and 6 feet 3 inches, football scouts were interested, especially from the Mid-American Conference, Cincinnati and Navy. The one that mattered the most to Rose was when Air Force came knocking on his door.
“I’m humbled to represent our small town at such a prestigious place as the Air Force Academy. I want to serve my country and believe this is a great opportunity,” Rose said. “I’ll be fine with the highly regimented, disciplined structure of the Academy.
The Academy’s defensive line coach, Ron Vanderlinden, sat down in the Rose’s living room and outlined what would be expected and how the opportunity to be around other kids like him would be beneficial to his future.
Rose’s dad, Ken, looked back on his son’s freshman and sophomore years of football. “We didn’t really dream that big. Then he attended the IMG camp in Florida before his junior year, which was eye-opening.
“They wanted him to come to their school and play. That possibly added a little motivation, but Kyle didn’t want to play in hot weather and came back home to perfect his talents. He had started on defense and changed to offensive tackle. With his agility and quickness, he could pick up and block linebackers and defensive backs,” Ken explained.
Vicksburg’s football coach, Tom Marchese, extolled Rose’s ability to lead the blocking downfield and get to the second level so quickly. “I’ve never had a player like Kyle. He’s been a three-year varsity standout. He showed what hard work will accomplish while still being a quiet modest kid. He doesn’t like the spotlight even though he was a two-time team captain. When I asked him to speak up, he did, becoming a team leader. The Academy is a great fit for Kyle, football-wise and academically. He will not get outworked, I know that,” Marchese said.
Rose will dress for home games but won’t play his first year as there is so much to absorb, the recruiter told him. In high school he carries a 3.8 GPA and hopes to major in engineering or business. His mom, Trudy, remembers Kyle as always being bigger than the other kids, even in day care. “All the little kids would just be hanging on him. We have to feed him a lot, especially bread and sub sandwiches. We pack a lunch of these for school each day so he won’t get too hungry.
“He has always been calm with an easy-going demeanor. It takes a lot to get him riled up but he can focus on what is important to him,” Trudy said. His brother, Hunter, played baseball in college at Ave Maria University in Florida and now is in investment planning for State Farm. “But football is where Kyle can let it all hang out when he hits someone as hard as he can with contained energy,” his coach exclaimed.
He likes football as a team sport even though he played travel baseball and is on the Vicksburg basketball team.